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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Menu Choices for First 4 States

As I mentioned in my last post, Caitlin will be cooking this year.  She will choose traditional foods, and recipes for each state, and cook two a week.  She will have a state info sheet for each state to fill out, and read up on the history of the traditional foods.  She will then do a blog post for each.  The first four states, and their menu items are:

Florida:  Gator Smoothies, and Key West Penne, and Key Lime Honey Grilled Chicken

Alabama:  Southern Fried Chicken, and Dill Pickle Potato Salad

Alaska:  Curry Salmon, will use chicken, with broccoli

Arizona:  Chicken and Cheese Quesadillas and Sopapillas

Because of my special diet, these will be tweeked to meet standards for CKD, or I will cook mine separate.  They don't like their meat fried in coconut oil, and while Evo is OK for me, coconut oil is better.  I only bake with coconut oil now, and replace eggs with bananas or applesauce.

With the holidays coming, and since I like to enjoy them, I will be posting recipes for foods and treats to take to parties for the holidays, that comply with CKD.  I love the app from  the National Kidney Foundation called, My Food Coach.  I put my info in, and it tells me exactly how much of the foods I need for the day to meet the requirements for potassium, phosphorus, protein and calcium, oh and sodium too.  Please use with caution with your doctor and dietitian, especially if you are new to CKD, and are unsure how to read labels, analyze and or convert metric units.  This can be very dangerous to you.  Too little and  you can harm yourself, too much and you can harm yourself, it is a very delicate balance not to be taken lightly.  I know for me, having too much sodium makes me feel crappy, so I try very hard to restrict sodium.  I also know the importance of sodium to the body, and Iodine to the thyroid.  My body needs some.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

First Two Weeks of New Homeschool Year Planned

I love it when I am on the ball!  The last two years have been rough, with illness, and rehabs, and such.  While we were still learning, it just seemed unorganized and chaotic, two things I don't really like.  I am hoping this year will be different.  Yesterday, I sat down and planned out the first two weeks.  DJ is easy, he is a senior, and all of his classes are online this year, at least the first half of school year.  Though I have a ton of things that need to be done for him, none are right now.  Caitlin, is the one I have to get on track.  She has no motivation, and it drives me crazy.  Hopefully a more structured routine will help that.  She already has more responsibilities.  For example, forever I have been telling her to not throw clean clothes on the floor, never wear them, and then put them in the wash.  So, now she is doing laundry, all of it with my assistance, washing, hanging, and folding.  She already wishes she had listened, lol.  Seriously though she is old enough to do more chores.  So this is what her first two weeks will look like.  Again, even though I keep a log, this is a very easy way for myself, and my evaluator to browse through what we have done.  I could probably stop the daily log on paper, but that is just a habit, no sense stopping now.

Week 1 is Sept 5-8, and week two is the week after.  Week 2 will be the same as week 1, as I think all activities will take that long to complete.  It may go longer.


Start chapter 1 of Blaze New Trails, this is a very active series.

Cooking across America:  She will cook twice a week, and the first four states are Florida, Alabama, Alaska, and Arkansas.  She has already picked her dishes, and I will be modifying them for CKD, so be sure to watch for those posts.  I think she will cook on Tues and Thurs.  I also need to find a state info printable for each state, and she will need to read the history of food for each state.  See previous posts for the link to that.


This is an easy one, Easy Peasy Homeschool, middle school Math.  No prep needed, and she will just move from lesson to lesson each day, as she masters each one.  Random testing by me will be done.


The first item of Weather will be clouds, and she has several hands on activities, along with videos and reading to do.  I think this will take at least two weeks to finish this series.  Lots of fun stuff here.  Plus she got a Ranger book with her Blaze New Trails book, and the first activity is squirrel sightings.  This one is easy, we have tons of them.

Language Arts/Reading:

Read the first chapter of Little House in the Big Woods.  This goes with the Literature unit study, Prairie Life.  There are a ton of fun activities, like make a rag doll.  This also will probably take more than one week.  The unit study is 12 units, so we can definitely stretch it out.

For Language Arts, Daily Grammar.

Writing:  Nanowrimo with the goal for her to write a book on wolves, in November.  Lesson one in the Nanowrimo series.  We will progress through the lessons each day, hopefully, and she will need to do research on wolves for writing her story.  They have a workbook, but I think I will just use the online version.

French/Piano:  These will be 30 minutes each, as time allows.  These are video lessons, and hands on lessons.

Friday, August 11, 2017

List of Curriculum Options for Grade 8: Caitlin

As I stated in my previous post I am in the planning stage of our next school year.  Today, because it is 114 degrees outside, I stayed in the air conditioning, scoured my Eclectic Homeschooler Pinterest board, and then saved some new items to that board.  I have been saving items to this board for years, and it spreads over many grades.  I have other education boards you can look at as well.   You can use it for anything you want.  I will be posting the titles to each item that I want to potentially use, for ease of finding when I need it.  The very first link, is for Geometry proofs, and for high school kids.  If you have a high schooler taking Geometry, this is the hardest part of the whole class, especially if doing Common Core.  Geometry Proofs

8th Grade Items


50 DIY Projects for teaching Social Studies
The food timeline
Official State Foods
Tropical Grilled Chicken-  recipes for all the states
Across the country 50 state foods
Great Living Books for teaching American History
Hands on History cloth dyeing
25 great movies for our historically illiterate children
Teaching history through movies
Learning American History with movies

Language Arts/Grammar/Writing/Reading:

Pioneer Kids Book 1 not on Pinterest but you can find it on Kindle Unlimited
NanoWrimo young writers work book, there is also a Yahoo group that we joined
Daily Grammar
A guide to Grammar and writing
The University of Bristol
Scott Foresman free writing and grammar books
31 days of read alouds
Story steps
Art history and writing
Once upon a time stem tales
Christmas roll a story
Punctuation Jungle
Writing skills what to expect at what age


Cloud classification
How clouds work
Cloud science project
Hands on Thunderstorms experiments
Virtual field trip about renewable energy
Free 40 page weather unit
Five for Friday weather edition
Homemade water clock
Science of clean water, and make a water still
Free science printables
Weather thematic unit
Flaking out water in the air
25 ways to study wind
Hurricane unit study
Cloud classification craft
Using clouds to predict weather
Hurricane and tornado themed activities
DNA and genetics bundle, both kids
Free Wolf Unit this is also for writing
Free math game boards
Living math book list
17 apps for teachers in 2017

For the first two weeks of school, Caitlin will cook 2 days each week, for 4 days.  We shop in 2 week cycles.  She chose the following:

Florida:  Honey key lime grilled chicken, Key West penne, and gator smoothies
Alabama:  Southern fried chicken and dill potato salad
Alaska:  Curry salmon, probably use chicken with broccoli
Arizona:  Chicken and cheese quesadillas and sopapilas

I still need French and Piano

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Planning the Next Home School Year

Well the evaluation is done, and time to get ready for next year.  We don't officially start back until September 5th, but I have a lot of work to do before then.  DJ's is easy, he is a senior, and will be doing a lot of online work.  He will be taking the SAT, on the 26th.  Right now he has no interest in doing dual enrollment, unfortunately, but he also knows that means all the school burden is on him.  That means scholarships, grants, and working to pay for his schooling.  He says he is aware.  Caitlin's will take a little more planning, though at least I have the basics of what she, and I want.  I just bought her History/Science curriculum, see details below. Last year I felt very disorganized, which is way out of whack for me.  I will be sure that doesn't happen this year.

DJ Courses for 12th Grade

Chemistry:  This is the second half of his Chemistry class. He opted not to do it over the Summer months.  He will be doing this on FLVS.

Japanese:  This is his second year, required for college, and we will be using Time 4 Learning Languages.  This was the program with the best pricing around at 60 dollars.  He will have access at that price for 6 months.  That should be sufficient to get enough hours to get a full credit.

English 4:  We chose a more formal Language Arts this year.  He will be doing this on FLVS.

Geometry/Math:  He is finishing up Geometry, and hopefully will be done by the time we start.  Whenever he finishes he will sign up for Math for College Readiness.  He opted to not take Algebra 2 knowing he may need Remedial Math his first year of college.  However,  the more he studies, his Math scores on the practice app, continue to go up for SAT.  FLVS

World History:  Though he did some last year, it is my feeling, and he agrees, that it was not enough for a full credit.  I signed him up for the honors program, at FLVS.

I still need to update his full high school portfolio, and just applied to a pet rescue for volunteer hours.  He will do electives the second half of the school year, to meet requirements.  Right now looking at typing, and Psych2, and possibly Religions of the World.

Cailtin:  Grade 8

Math:  Easy Peasy Homeschool middle school level.  She will pick up where she left off, fractions #18.

Science/Weather:  The past two years Caitlin has not had much concentration on Science or History.  This year will be different.  I have saved a ton of resources, to Pinterest, that I will be going through to put together a Weather program for her.  This is interest based learning.  I will do a future post on the sources I decide to use.

History:  This actually will be multi focused.  I just bought today, from an Etsy seller, Blaze New Trails.  I bought the student book, the fun kit, and the Prairie Life units.  This is a multi subject curriculum, for History, Science and Literature.  My evaluator had it yesterday, and I loved it.  Caitlin loved it too, which is why I was willing to pay the price for it.  She will also be doing Cooking Across America, which is a made up course by me using various resources.  She will be required to cook at least twice a week, and will include Geography as well.  I will do a post later on with the links for this class.

Language Arts/Writing:  This year will again have a focus of good writing skills.  I am scouring my Pinterest board to decide what I want to use.  Might be multiple websites.  I know we agreed that she wants to write about wolves.  She loves wolves~

French:  Caitlin has decided to move from Spanish to French.  Since she is still in middle school, we will probably just have this as an adjunct class, where she uses an app to learn as much as she can, for free.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Homeschool Portfolio for Caitlin Grade 7

This is the online portion of Caitlin's grade 7 Homeschool portfolio.  Physical samples will accompany us to the actual evaluation on August 3rd.  This will be a general outline of websites, books, and other curriculum used for each subject.  Please note for the purposes of life skills, I was very ill in December and January, which led to a lot of life learning.  She did Gymnastics for part of the school year, with Tumblemania, then decided to do the Spring drama play, Madagascar.  She participated in the Kiwis youth choir at our church, for the full school  year, and did several performances in front of church audience, I did grade random samplings of Reading, Writing and Math.

1.  Language Arts:  Spectrum Grade 7 work book, 100% completed.  Then switched to Grade 8 Language Arts Lifepac,  4   books completed.   For the purpose of Language Arts, Caitlin also had writing assignments throughout the school year.  Some of them were published to her blog at,      We read the first book of Anne of Green Gables, with a book report, and she watched the movie.  We are currently still reading Gentle Ben.  To evaluate her reading comprehension, I used the STAR website.  She did 12 passages with questions, and got 4 wrong answers out of the 12, for a mastery of 67%.  Not a great grade, but with such a small sampling, should be considered.  We reviewed all wrong answers, and she was able to pick the correct answer the second time around of reading, with the exception of only one question. I did not give her any clues or prompts, just told her she picked the wrong answer, and to reread and try again.   I chose grade 7, proficient level.

2.  History:  Caitlin's least favorite subject next to Math.  We started with Alpha Omega Lifepac, Grade 8 work books,    5     books completed.  We then switched to watching History videos on PBS.  They have an extensive library of grade appropriate resources.  She liked the videos, with convos, and or writing assignment much better.  We also had some fun with Geography where I twirled the globe, and with her eyes closed picked a spot on the globe.  Wherever her finger landed, she did a little research and then a writing assignment.  Again, these can be read on her blog.  History in grade 8 will be cooking across America.  She will be learning to cook recipes that are famous to each state, with Geography included.  I am not thinking she will cook everyday, but we will see.

3.  Math:  Caitlin started the year with Saxon 7/6, and finished    34  lessons, with review and corrections for lessons.  After the winter break we switched to an online format, her preference, Easy Peasy Homeschool Middle School Math.  She has shown very good progress using this format, and we will continue to work through it over the Summer months, and start it back up in the Fall, for grade 8.  If she completes all lessons, she will start over and do the harder lessons that she was not quite ready for in grade 7.  As of 8/7/17 she had finished up to Fractions #16.  Throughout the year I also print off small tests for her to take.  I graded them all and she ended up with an 84% for a final Math grade, for grade 7.

4.  Science:  Alpha Omega Lifepac work books, grade 8. Caitlin was able to whiz through these without much challenge.  I have not completely reviewed them yet for accuracy. and I probably will not. # of books completed     9   .  Science is not one of the classes I worry about in the middle school years.  We also did some fun experiments, and you can read about them in older posts on this blog.

5.  Bible:  Alpha Omega Lifepac work books, grade 8.  Caitlin was able to work through these pretty quickly,  7    books completed.  She also throughout the school year, at various times, assisted with Awanis program at church, and Sunday school.  This was her first year in the teen youth group, and made a couple new friends.  She is looking forward to attending camp next year, with the group in SC.  She sang in the Kiwis choir, and she could join the youth praise band if she chooses to do so.  So far she has not been interested.

Caitlin has one more year of fun homeschooling, and then she will have to get more serious about her education when she hits high school.  She has a goal of taking French, she did some Spanish in grade 6 and 7.  She has a few ideas for high school, with goals of pet groomer/walker concentration on having her own business, and or a Meteorologist.  She will be doing a half year of Weather studies, and experiments in grade 8 to better focus on this topic, and if it is something she would wish to pursue.  I think for Math I will add in a little Business Math in grade 8, for her as well as above stated curriculum, so she will get a feel for keeping track of books in a business.   Over all she had a very good year.  Did a lot of grade 8 work, though I don't think it was challenging, or even very interesting.  She is more of a visual, and hands on learner, and really did not enjoy a work books only style of learning.  She still struggles with the 5 paragraph method of Writing, and will definitely continue to work on that.  Caitlin does not have much motivation to write correctly, especially on paper.  As far as socialization skills, and exercise, she did great this year.  Drama, and Gymnastics were great choices for her, and was able to make lots of new friends.  One of her good friends moved away this year, but we are trying very hard to make sure they stay in touch.  She still participates in 4H, and did her first demonstration this year, with a friend.  They did a get a blue ribbon.  Unfortunately her bunny passed away, but he was 9, and dearly loved.   I am currently looking for a more fun, and relaxed Writing curriculum for grade 8. I would love suggestions.  At this point, I love affordable, but will pay for a good, honestly fun program.  Caitlin will also be doing Health class in 8th grade, as she has had some important milestones this year.  

Currclick for Homeschoolers


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